Northern Athletics Cross Country Champs

The Northern Cross Country Championships by a traumatised Mark Morgan-Hillam!

Saturday 30th January, 2016. Witton Park, Blackburn.

Before I begin this write up I feel the need to justify myself a little. Firstly, I LOVE cross-country. I am not one of those soft road runners who cries every time they see a hill or, more importantly, a puddle! I love to run on trails, I generally enjoy running uphill (although I will happily admit to hating descents) and, most importantly, I love a bit of mud! It makes you fitter, stronger, faster in the long run. I am not telling you this to show off. I am telling you this so that when I tell you that this cross-country was the hardest hour of running in my life; that the conditions were so bad I wanted to drop-out with every fibre of my being; you know I am not exaggerating! To anyone, of any age or gender, who finished their race today, I salute you!

Saturday 30th January, 2016. Witton Park, Blackburn. The venue and date may be forever etched deep into my soul. When I eventually arrive at the Pearly Gates and some angel is tasked with viewing my life in a timeline of emotions before deciding whether I can enter, they might just glance down my life as a line graph before looking up and asking; “Jesus, what happened in January, 2016?!”

It’s lap 2 of a 4 lap race. Yes folks, FOUR laps. That was sticking the knife in for a start. I have only run a few club cross-countries but my body is already trained to deal with three laps. The first lap is for finding a good pace and learning the route, the second lap is consolidation and adapting your pace now you know where you’re going, the third lap is to expend any remaining energy. What the hell is the fourth lap for???

Anyway, I am already digressing, it’s lap 2 of FOUR laps. The hill is steep, the mud torturous, the wind (into your face, obviously) is bitingly cold, the hail is being driven sideways into every available piece of flesh on show. For the first time in my running life, I am genuinely wondering what the **** I am doing being out in this – for fun. I want to cry. I could get away with crying too. No-one would know; the hail sliding down my cheeks would hide the tears. But mostly, I want to stop running, get indoors and get some clothes on. This has never happened before. And there are two more ****ing laps left – after I get round this one!

Looking back, I am pretty certain that I would have carried on anyway, I am pretty stubborn in these situations, but, at the time, the only thing keeping me going was the team. And this is the beauty of running for a club and not as an individual – the ethic that you cannot let your teammates down drives you on. Both the men’s and women’s teams had exactly the right numbers. One drop out – no team. So on we all went, through the mud, up the hill, into the maelstrom…

The Course.

Longer standing members may know the Witton Park venue. Apparently the usual Red Rose league route involves a similar lap of the flat field at the bottom of the course and the climb behind the Pavilion cafe. However, with this being the Northern Championships, an extra climb was added, also behind the cafe. The route was now, in my opinion, the perfect cross-country route – a 1.6 mile lap, half through flat fields, the other half a double shark fin of climbing and descending. The first climb (the additional one not on the league route) was particularly tough; steep and unrelenting on an adverse camber meaning you couldn’t even aim straight up it without being sent slithering off course again, before a hilarious vertical descent in shin deep mud down a bank that would make the most graceful of runners look like a Wildebeest during a lion attack!

So, all sounds good so far, what’s to moan about? Well, it is very difficult to describe the conditions underfoot without being accused of exaggerating. But I can tell you, hand on heart, that the entire course was mud. The best conditions were ankle deep mud. The worst conditions were shin deep and, for some people, knee deep mud! For the entire route! There was no ‘ideal line’ to be had. Believe me, I did four laps and never ran the same line twice! It made no difference. Pile straight through it was the only option because the other options were merely a longer route in the same conditions!

In the changing rooms afterwards, more experienced runners than I discussed if these were the worst conditions ever experienced. The only event comparable, they decided, was a Northern Championships at Knowsley in similar mud and heavy snow. This was, however, largely dismissed as (and I was not there to confirm this) apparently at Knowsley there were some sections of the route solid enough for actual running to take place. This certainly was not the case at Witton Park!

Oh, and one added bonus – this was the Northern Championships, so it’s longer than usual! For the women: a lap of the field section, then three full laps – 8.8km. For the men: the same with the bonus fourth lap (have I mentioned the fourth lap?!) – 11.5km.

The Teams.

The women – Jayne Taylor, Shona Taylor, Pauline Foster and Lisa Atherton.
The men – Steve Nicholls, Dave Collins, Mike Harris, Tony Foster, Gary Wane and Mark Morgan-Hillam.

The Build-Up.

The first thing that cannot go unmentioned was the team ‘carb-loading’ session the night before the race! Thanks to our Social Committee of Nina, Mel and Becki for a great night at the Christmas/NY bash! However, this may not have been the best preparation for the following day…(!)

Mike and I arrived nice and early and soon found Jayne and Dave huddled behind a large tree! Almost immediately the first squall of biting wind and hail came in. The weather pattern would remain consistent throughout the day – 15 minutes where the sun would appear and it would seem to be a reasonable winter’s day. Then 15 minutes where the wind would blow, the hail would bite, and the temperature would feel to drop about five degrees. Initial disappointment at the absence of our team tent soon disappeared – many teams have the same one as us; most of them were blown down during one or all of the squalls which blew through!

One by one the team arrived and all began the same mathematical equations in their heads; ie. ’Until exactly what time can I leave every item of clothing on my body without actually missing the start of the race?!’

The Women’s Race.

I could only look on with sympathy as the women finally had to don their race gear whilst I remained in my six layers of clothing. Off they soldiered towards the start line; framed from our vantage point by the next menacing black cloud looming over the hill.

The much larger number of runners is certainly an impressive sight and, after a lap of the field, the women swept past us, round the bend and off towards the first climb of the race. It is always worth attending these larger events just to watch the front-runners. They are so impressive – a different breed. (More on this later!)


Then the hail came.

I tried to stay out and support them! I really did. Honestly! I saw Jayne come round again the first time, then Shona. Every runner’s face bore the same haunted look – it was like a scene from Platoon! And this was the first lap! But the hail was driving and it hurt your face to look up, so the entire men’s team took the soft, unanimous option and decided that we needed to prepare for our own race – in the changing rooms!


I therefore cannot comment further on the women’s performances, other than to reiterate that anyone who finished that race, in whatever time, deserves respect. The women undoubtedly copped for the longest, most prolonged hailstorm of the day. Brutal.

Jayne Taylor – 92nd – 38m19s
Shona Taylor – 259th – 46m48s
Pauline Foster – 303rd – 50m27s
Lisa Atherton – 304th – 50m27s

358 finished. (There were a lot of retirements, so I don’t know how many started.)

38th place of 40 complete teams.

The Men’s Race.

We got changed slowly. No point going outside unnecessarily. We had a team selfie – inside, (that took up a couple more minutes.) We went to the doorway. We stood in the doorway looking out for a bit. You get the picture. We weren’t keen.


Eventually, there was no alternative. The run from the changing room to the start line was our warm-up. And even then Dave and Tony nearly managed to miss the start! The start line was the best bit. Being huddled in a large crowd was the only time I was warm all day.

Then we were off. My general strategy is to bolt off a bit at the start and try and find some space. “Bloody hell, Mark’s buggered off already!” was the last thing I heard Mike say from behind! (He was upset at leaving his Garmin at home, so I’d told him just to run next to me and I’d record it for him.) However, this was a large field, a fast field, so there wasn’t going to be any space. It also became very quickly apparent that the nice, flat lap of the field to get your legs moving was going to be nothing of the sort. Already we were up to our ankles. ‘It’ll settle down in a bit!” Nope. Ankle or shin deep mud every bit of the way to the tented area. Less than one mile down – the four laps only now commencing. Jesus. No wonder the women looked so traumatised. My legs and lungs were already burning and we hadn’t technically started the laps yet!

Up the first climb we slipped. Two steps up, one slide right, course bearing left. Into the wind. Adrenaline already waning. Down the bank desperately trying to remain upright. My shiny new 15mm spikes no match for this terrain. (“Never mind 15mm spikes, you needed javelins in your soles!” Steve afterwards!)

Up the second climb. Slightly less room, absolutely no ideal line. Onto the second descent, described as the ‘muddy field’ by those in the know pre-race! So yes, shin and knee deep mud all the way – but at least the gradient was more gentle, so this part of the course was actually quite enjoyable. At the bottom there is a gate where you emerged back into the lower field and a large crowd was assembled here. I know why they were there! There was a particularly deep bog right at the bottom on a camber. There must have been some hilarious full-body-bog-dives there! For anyone out-of-control, tired, going too fast or simply not picking their feet up there could only be one outcome! On the four occasions I went through there were audible groans from the crowd when I emerged unscathed!

Round the field. This should be the easy bit. But it’s not. It’s torture. Now you feel like you should be running properly but you just can’t get going.


Onto lap two.

Up to that point us gents had got off lightly weather wise.

Then the hail came again…

I have already described my emotions as I began climbing again. Insanity. What were we doing out here? Get your head down, try and keep moving.

Up. Down. Up. Down. Field. Repeat.

Lap three. By now the top of the first climb is like the Somme. As with the women’s race, I have no idea how many dropped out of our race, but I have never seen so many runners walking back down the course in the wrong direction or simply stood at the side of the course with their families. I am now starting to lap a lot of people. Usually, by this stage, you have an idea of the guys around you, the ones you are vying for position with. But not today. It’s impossible to tell who’s on your lap and who isn’t.

Gary said it was at this point that (his words) “I did one of those burps where you’re sick in your own mouth!” He wasn’t sure if it was the party beer, his morning bacon and sausage butties, or a combination of the two…

Into the field and heading for the finish area to begin my last lap. Funnily enough, as if to prove the point that running is as much in the head as the legs, I am undergoing a recovery of sorts. I feel pretty good. I’m starting to revel in what, after-all, should be my kind of conditions. But really I’m just delighted that there is only one more lap to go!

Then it happens.

It’s the vociferous shouting of the crowd that alerts me to it first. Then it’s the sound. It’s like galloping horses hooves! S*** – I’m going to get lapped!!! Into the final straight I turn, right where the finish funnel splits from the course proper. But there he goes in my peripheral vision; a blur of Sale Harrier green. Then the second place guy. I never saw the third place bloke but he must have been right there as the crowd were shouting three different names!

As I said before, one of the amazing things about these big races is seeing the elites in action. The other Harriers said it was amazing to watch these guys appearing not to touch the ground at all, even in these conditions. I was stunned. But, mostly, I was just jealous that they could stop running and I had to go round again!

Lap four – the unnecessary lap!

The top of that penultimate climb was only bearable because I didn’t have to do it again. Most were walking up. I maintained the pretence of running only because I was determined to be able to say afterwards “I didn’t walk!” – not because I was actually travelling any faster than those who were walking!

The last climb – oh the joy of cresting it! I pretty much laughed all the way down the ‘muddy field’ and attempted a finishing spurt of sorts round the field.

The finish line. Thank **** for that. It was one of those finish lines where there was a marshal specifically charged with the job of making runners move away from the finish line and through the finish area. To a man every runner crossed the line and stopped dead, there and then.

Mike was the next Harrier in, narrowly seeing off Dave (again!) in their personal battle! Steve, Gary and Tony soon followed and finally it was over!


Coffee and cakes have never been so deserved!

Mark Morgan-Hillam – 261st – 57m13s
Mike Harris – 310th – 59m31s
Dave Collins – 314th – 59m39s
Steve Nicholls – 405th – 63m03s
Gary Wane – 569th – 70m39s
Tony Foster – 645th – 78m14s
719 finishers (a lot more started!)

39th place team of 52 complete teams.

The 401 Challenge

On the 28th December 2014 we had an email from a 32 year old man from Bristol. The mail explained what he was after and the following is a brief extract from it…

The 400 marathons will take me to 309 different locations throughout the UK spanning from Lands End all the way to John O Groats and will feature a mixture of organised national marathons including London, Brighton, Bournemouth x 2, Liverpool, Isle of Wright, Manchester, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh. The remaining marathons will take place in towns and cities throughout the UK and will consist of 26.2 mile routes which will be open to anyone wanting to join me from the local area including your club, I’m sure you can guess by now this is where I really need your help and expertise of the local area and as the main running club in the area below. I was wondering if you would be so kind to help me plan a 26.2 mile route which can be featured on my website and which I will follow on the day below?

Marathon 146 Sunday 24 January 2016 Wigan

To be fair to Jayne it would have been easy at this point to say gosh that’s going to take some organising alongside coaching, racing, working etc and politely decline. However after a chat with a few members the idea of running a Wigan Marathon started to develop.

That Bristol man was someone you are all very familiar with now and over the next 12 months Jayne and Dave spent many hours planning and checking a 26.2 mile route ready for Ben Smith to include in what was now called The 401 Challenge.

Skip forward to 24th January and welcome to Wigan Ben Smith!


It was surprisingly warm as I ran down to the DW from Standish. I set out in full Harriers kit ready to join my fellow runners and had to stop after a mile to strip everything back off as it was so mild. I knew we would have a fairly decent turnout maybe 30 runners plus a few more from other clubs and so was looking forward to a great social day. Imagine my surprise when I got to the DW and found I was part of 78 strong Challenge 401 posse – absolutely awesome!


It was never imagined that there would be so many people interested when it was being planned. Ben always gets a selfie with everyone he runs with so this needed to be done before we set off, not surprisingly it took awhile!!


Time to go and we had to check with Jayne which direction to line up in such was how well we had all studied Dave’s map. Jayne adopted a racing start position!


We headed out from DW towards Mesnes Park and the magnitude of what was going on started to dawn especially as we passed startled dog walkers not used to seeing 80 runners go bounding past them!


From startled dog walkers to sleepy eyed Dads next! Gary Fitzpatrick was having a quiet walk through Mesnes Park with the push chair when he was steamrolled by the 401 er’s!


We then headed to Haigh Hall, a great opportunity to get away from the narrow pavements and passing cars. Darren Finnegan was in the perfect place to capture us heading towards the first decent climb of the day. I hope someone told Ben that Wigan was a bit hilly in parts!

Most of the route so far was very familiar training routes for the Harriers although we were concerned Jayne might make us do a few hill sprints!


Haigh was opportunity for a few to have a brief rest and after a quick tour of Aspull the whole party regrouped.

A brief inspection of the Balcarres indicated the pub was closed so no cheeky stop off unfortunately!



There was no sign of any fatigue and everyone was still full of enthusiasm helped by Ben’s engaging personality.


It was then time to head out of Haigh towards Standish and the next decent climb up Rectory Lane.


Full of the lurgy it was here I said my goodbyes, a little sad that I wasn’t going to see the run completed but very pleased to have been part of it. Thanks Ben.


From Standish to the End!

And so with Dave’s Siamese twin running mate having bailed out to enjoy some cake, these are our memorable moments from the rest of the marathon.

The pull up the hill past the Owls was taking its toll, but seemingly every few hundred metres, someone would announce that they had never ran this far before. There was a steely determination about the group by now. How could anyone show weakness with Ben amongst us? Andy Harrison’s feed station was still over a mile away, and with energy levels dropping, and hydration becoming an issue, the Co-op was a welcome source of fizzy drinks – no sugar tax for us please! As we approached Mossy Lea Road in Wrightington, there was a moment of concern as we couldn’t see Andy’s car. Then one of the advance convoy announced that it was just down the road, and with renewed enthusiasm we set off again. Very rarely have Haribos, flapjack and water been so gratefully received, as the plague of locusts wiped the table clean – thanks to everyone who donated here to raise £84!

The word on the street was that Ben was quite partial to a bacon butty, and concerns had been raised that he hadn’t eaten enough the day before. There is a nice little cafe (Cafe Alexander) at dangerous corner, and the plan was for Ben to have a cooked breakfast there. We’d already taken his order earlier in the day, and were amused that he wanted a FULL breakfast but WITHOUT beans, tomatoes and black pudding – how can it be full then? Julie was looking to stretch her legs (surprise, surprise), while Caroline B had to leave to make an appointment in London (!), so together with Dave they set off to book Ben’s fry up plus his favourite flat white at the Alexander. A really popular place with not many tables, we managed to secure him a seat in the corner, sharing a table with another client. Outside, the remaining group – we don’t want to exaggerate, but there still seemed to be 30 or 40 people – chatted and queued to use the cafe toilet! Many thanks to the cafe owner who donated £20 to Ben. As if that wasn’t enough, several other customers handed him £5 and £10 notes, without anyone mentioning donations to them! Real heart warming stuff.


With Ben fed and more obligatory “longest I’ve ever run in my life” photos taken, we headed off towards Appley Bridge. We had barely gone a few minutes down Appley Lane when Ben suddenly staggered. We thought that he had gone light-headed, but it turned out that it was his back starting to spasm. Amazingly, we had heard him say earlier in the day, that he didn’t take any painkillers as he would prefer his body to let him know when something was wrong. His body had just taken him up on the offer. With Jayne talking about “needing an elbow in there”, the main man walked, shuffled and then started to run again.

We were now nearing 15 miles and we asked several people where they planned to bail out. The general response was along the lines of “well I’ve come this far, so I’ll just see how long I can keep going”!!! That old warhorse Kev Edwards had turned up to just do a few miles, but was still leading the pack. He’d run to the start and would have to run home, so his “few miles” was seemingly going to exceed 30. Andy Harrison was a little “perturbed” that Kev was at the front but didn’t even know the route! We suppressed smiles recalling a similar Kev incident in the Langdales on the Cumbria Way relay – slightly more serious repercussions in getting lost there.

As we headed up to Shevington from Appley Bridge, Dave was mortified to see that Paul Carter had sourced a hot steak pie from the local shop, while he had missed out. He’d been craving a pie for miles! The Wigan marathon was living up to its reputation. Another hill, another stop , then down to the canal at Gathurst (over 17 miles), where a few people called it a day. A big thank you to Andy Hardy for buying Tesco out of water and providing a welcome water station before our next climb – he re-appeared again later as we passed his house in Orrell! The hill up to John Rigby College is quite a toughie at the best of times. Chris Green was licking his lips at the thought of another gradient, and when a cyclist passed us, that was all the incentive that our favourite punk needed. He shot off and just about caught the poor chap at the top of the climb. One of our many support crew was kindly waiting to hand out gels, while little Erica dished out the Haribos – we could see that this was proving to be difficult, as it left fewer for her!

As we took on yet another climb, this one up to Orrell Post (19 miles), we started to realise that nearly everyone still standing intended to go all the way, and a significant number of those had never run a marathon before. Speaking to the newbies, we were waking up to how great an achievement this would be, and the whole team was determined to get everyone else through it. No-one more than Ben, who despite his back spasm, continually encouraged those who were suffering. It was around the Upholland area that we had our one real blight on the day, when Darren Horrocks slipped and fell heavily. He shook himself off and carried on, but the fall would eventually take its toll on him.

As we approached Upholland Parish Church, Paul Platt came bounding down the road like a hyper-active Tigger. He’d run the loop in the opposite direction, but had started to think that he’d got the route wrong and had missed us. At the Orrell junction, it was decision time for a few, who sensibly dropped the Billinge Longshaw loop, and headed along the “two mile stretch” to Windy Arbour – massive distance pb’s already guaranteed. This was about the 20 mile point, and as anyone who has run a marathon will tell you, this is where it begins. We have nothing but admiration for the way teeth were gritted, and while it is unfair to single anyone out, young Danny Yates was amazing. He had been “chafing” for a large part of the race, and now his quads started to really hurt. His dad, Ian, was doing a fantastic job in cajoling him along, but the promise of a good downhill section is not always music to your quads.

The split at Orrell proved to be a good idea, as the two groups merged around Windy Arbour and headed down to the Platt garden party. Dave (Platty) had gone beyond the call of duty (and all that), by waiting in all afternoon and then setting up a table with drinks and food. We had originally thought that this stop might have been too near to the finish (nearly 24 miles), but as it turned out, it was the perfect distance. Again, we were taken aback by how many runners were here, and how many of those were gunning for that first marathon. It was brilliant when Danny appeared to a round of applause, and Darren received a similar reception when he hobbled in. Unfortunately, Darren was in no shape to carry on – he was the proverbial “white as a sheet” – and as disappointed as he was, he did the sensible thing and allowed Platt taxis to run him into town.

Despite having carefully measured the course, and ensured that it was slightly long to satisfy Ben’s requirements, the numbers weren’t quite adding up here. It should have been just over 2 miles to the finish, and a lot of people had about 24 miles on their watches. So why was the all important watch of Ben’s reading less than 23?! Whatever the reason, this was now going to be an “ultra” for some. We made our bid for home and headed down the picturesque streets of Wigan towards the DW. Danny was running again, and Ben settled in with him, to encourage him along. Spirits had been lifted by the refreshment stop and morale was definitely on the up.

The DW came into sight and we ran past a high-fiving Waldu outside Pizza Hut. As we approached the finish, it was better than passing Buckingham Palace on the London marathon. A great reception from family and friends, and those with honest watches were welcomed to the marathon club. A hardy group, led by Andy Kaufman, then went that “extra mile” to get Ben’s watch beyond the requisite 26.2 miles. Ben himself took us past his mobile home, safely hurdled the chain link fence, and received the cheers from the crowd in what was now beyond twilight! This was a very emotional time for some. Loads of photos, commemorative cakes and back slapping. No-one wanted it to end, but for Ben it was just another marathon and so we ushered him into his van and sent him on his way.


Ben’s records tell us that 78 people started the run that day, the second highest so far for his Challenge. 12 people completed a marathon for the first time, while 18 ran further than they have ever done before. Danny Yates became the youngest person to run a marathon in the 401 series. However, today was about much more than just distance running. Although we have mentioned people in our “memorable moments”, it would be wrong to single out individuals at the end. A simple thank you to everyone who ran, walked or supported the event.


Barry Ryder had kindly offered to give Ben a post run massage. Sunday evening is not the easiest time to find a suitable venue for a mobile masseur and so Ben came back to ours. As those of you who spoke to him during the day will realise, he is a very special person – and we don’t say that lightly. “Inspirational” doesn’t do him justice. He has been in the darkest places yet come through, and wants others to benefit from his experience. Running was his salvation and he is determined to spread that message to others.

One particularly nice revelation concerned the selection criteria for the running clubs that were targeted to help with his project. We had thought that it was a “blanket” email drop, but Ben assured us that they looked at the websites / blogs of all clubs in areas that they were visiting, and tried to get a “feel” for the club atmosphere. They then selected those with a seemingly relaxed, fun and all-welcoming attitude. Well done to everyone for generating that environment.

2015 Stats now ready for checking please!

Congratulations on all those who registered a performance at either 10k, Half Marathon or Marathon in 2015. The rise in both the number and quality of performances was quite staggering and a testament to your dedication and hard work.

I’ve tried to add in performances from Wigan 10k and marathon season but there will be either a number of performances missing due to the following reasons:

  1. You haven’t told us
  2. You aren’t registered on website
  3. You weren’t a Harrier when you did it
  4. You told us and we forgot!!

Statto unfortunately can not keep up with the performances of 120 athletes, although I do try!

Please send the details in before 12th February and I’ll do a final update on 2015 before adjusting the All time records.

Many thanks.

Do you remember your first time?

My first XC! – Mid Lancs Cross Country League, Wilsons Playing Fields Hyndburn on Saturday 16th January 2016 by Paul Walker.

Ever since joining Harriers I have been told about the cross country races and how good they are. Quotes from Dave like “get a few XC runs under your belt and you will be fit as a butchers dog”. To be honest I have promised I will come along ever since, but this time I was committed to going. I had my excuses as I was working in the Netherlands the week before, but I was starting to worry I would never make one!

Once we had got through the pre-race banter of running vests in the cold and what undergarments were acceptable, we had a quick warm-up and then off to the start. I have run in a few races now for Harriers and really enjoy the nerves and excitement on the start line. For those of you who have not yet raced, get involved! I promise I had thoughts like “I don’t want to look stupid against all these amazing runners”, but so far in over 10 events they have always been mixed ability so just turn up for the experience, it’s fantastic!

Anyway back to the XC, Dave had said Hyndburn was his favourite, so I had high expectations. It started off around a football pitch which was pretty flat, the odd ditch, which caught a few by surprise but not too slippy, so as usual I set-off far too fast with the adrenaline surging and realised that if I could still see Gary Fitzpatrick I should slow down…. I had seen XC on TV before and it always looked quite easy, this was tough! Three laps up into the woods, ankle sucking mud, ice, up and down hills, crossing a stream and a near vertical mud hill climb, it was great 😀. The support was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Last year I paid a crazy amount for Tough-Guy as a challenge, this was just as challenging but free! To make things even more interesting it started to snow on the third lap! I hope everybody who reads this is encouraged to attend, for those of you not yet sure, we all finished up by going for a coffee and cake (some of us two cakes Mike!), hopefully that will convince you!

Editor – check out Paul’s smile!

Paul Walker

Collins and Harris give the thumbs up for a new XC recruit!



A busy weekend for Wigan Harriers!

Cross Country, Half Marathons, 10k’s, snowy training runs. This weekend has seen members of the club just about everywhere. Please send in your photos, race times and reports and share your news of PB’s, epic fails, XC glory and training run calamity.

Don’t forget about the club merchandise, the clock is ticking and the shop won’t stay open forever so take a look soon.



Full race report coming soon for Hyndburn Mid Lancs XC but don’t forget there are two fixtures still to come. ALL members are eligible, no selection required and no entry fees.


Finally after a few technical issues the final 2015 stats will be published this week. If you have any performance you want adding as a member please send them in. The current stats shown are valid to mid October.

Info to


Mid Lancs Cross Country Standings

The first three gigs of the Wigan Harriers Lancashire winter tour are now done, with three to go. There have been some fantastic results so far in particularly from the Women and Girls – well done!

Astley Park, Chorley – complete


Towneley Park, Burnley – complete


Sefton Park, Liverpool – complete


The remaining tour dates…Fixture list

50% complete, so how are the results looking? Well here are the important stats for all groups including Juniors.

Mid Lancs League Tables

Key points

  • U11 Girls 5th place
  • U13 Girls 7th place
  • U15 Girls 5th place
  • Women’s Division 1 – 3rd place
  • Women’s ‘B’ Division 3 – 4th place
  • Women’s V35 – 1st place
  • Women’s V45 – 1st place
  • Men’s Divsion 2 – 2nd place
  • Men’s ‘B’ Division 3 – 7th place (Only had one result)
  • Men’s V40 Division 1 – 3rd place

With three races remaining we have championships, promotions and relegation all up for grabs so we need a big turnout for the last three races. I sense trophies are a beckoning but there is still more hard work to be done! The Men need to field at least 12 runners in EVERY race now to avoid relegation for the ‘B’ team.



Epic adventure…

Maybe, maybe not but at least I’ve grabbed your interest!

We are now half way through the Mid Lancs season with fixture number 4 this Saturday 16th January. It’s at a course renowned for being very dry, quick and easy – Wilson Playing Fields Hyndburn especially after all the dry weather.

Right I can’t lie…it’s a muddy tough challenge but a fantastic Cross Country course. Some of you will have had the pleasure already this season, taking part in the Red Rose fixture. People pay a small fortune to run challenge and obstacle races, why when you can do this with the Harriers!!

It might even trump Sefton’s mud…


These are the timings for the different age groups, please cheer on the younger runners if you get chance.

Approx Distances
(12.30pm u11 girls) ~ 2K
(12.45pm u11 boys)~ 2K
1.00pm u13 girls 2.5K
1.20pm u15 girls and u13 boys 3K
1.40pm u15 boys and u17 women 4K
2.00pm u17 men; jnr, snr & vet women 6K
2.30pm jnr, snr and vet men 9-10K

If anyone requires a lift please ask at training. If in doubt just do it, we need everyone please, that includes you! Yes you reading this now!